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Criterion Collection: Do the Right Thing [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Spike Lee effectively combines humor and drama in this critically acclaimed film that traces the course of a scorching day on a block in the Bedford-Stuyevesant area of Brooklyn.
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Top Customer Reviews
Throughout the plot Lee explores the dynamics of a community in which different races have been living together for a long time and outwardly tolerating each other. However, long running issues such as economic deprivation, power struggles, questions of status, questions of responsibility, questions of history have been left unresolved and so manifest themselves in the form of racism. As well as this the inhabitants of Bed-Stuy (where the film is set) have shied away from the glaring fact that they are all different but they live alongside one another. Bed-Stuy is shown as a ticking time bomb whose time to detonate has come - on a maddeningly HOT day.
The acting performances can't be praised enough. Everyone from Lee (who plays Mookie) to Aiello (who plays Sal) to Perez (who plays Tina) to Nunn (who plays Radio Raheem) gives a cool and assured performance. I personally like Jackson's character, Mister Senor Love Daddy, a DJ-cum-philosopher who communicates his worldview over the airwaves.
The production is quirky and fresh. Every scene is vibrant and visceral.Read more ›
Nonetheless, the film had aged considerably for a number of reasons. First and foremost, race relations have evolved decisively. We have a black president, in spite of all our persistent problems of poverty, under-achievement, and drugs. But I also found some of the acting a bit stilted, even from two great actors, Aiello and Samuel Jackson; even Ossie Davis and Turturro seemed locked in rather two-dimensional characters. Moreover, the complete absence of the drug culture makes the picture incomplete. Lastly, I found the climax, and particularly Mookie's unexpected action, harder to believe than I did when younger. As such, I find that there are new productions, such as the incomparable The Wire, have succeeded far better in exploring through art the issues that underlie America's ongoing urban crisis.
That being said, many of the performances are still fresh, both hilarious and affecting. The trio of men (with Sweet Dick WIllie) in ongoing dialogue, the wonderful anger of Rosie Perez, and the simmering rage of Ruby Dee are worth the price of admission. Moreover, the internal dialogue that the film is designed to provoke - similar to Bertold Brecht - is as effective and relevant as ever. This is a pioneering work that is well worth viewing again. It may even become a classic.
Lee's film is set in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer and documents how racial tensions spill over into a dramatic and violent climax. The narrative of the film centres on Sal Fragione's (played by Danny Aiello) pizza parlour, which it is pointed out by the black character Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) shows only pictures of white Italian-Americans on the wall, with no African-Americans represented. Tensions rise to the extent that one night Buggin Out and fellow negro Radio Raheem (played by Bill Nunn) enter the pizzeria, a dispute and fight ensues with Radio Raheem eventually being strangled to death by an arriving police officer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Spike Lee's masterpiece on the difficult lives of African and Italian Americans in New York who struggle to live in society together and settle their cultural differences. Read morePublished 7 months ago by josh91
A film that is as relevant today as it was when it came out 25 years ago. It builds steadily to a climax that happens in rel life all the time. A must see film.Published 12 months ago by Groucho
Where subject matters are steered clear by many, a select few confront them head on : so thank heavens for actor/director Spike Lee and others. Read morePublished 13 months ago by ALewis,